Monday Kickoff: Champagne enters FIFA race; Torres suffers knee injury; and more

JeromeChampagneFIFA2 (MundoDeportivo)

By DAN KARELL

Whoever runs for the FIFA presidency in 2015 will have an unexpected challenger.

A former FIFA executive, Frenchman Jerome Champagne, has declared his candidacy for the upcoming elections, saying that he will attempt to earn the five minimum required nominations from FIFA nations in order to truly enter the race.

“We need a different FIFA, more democratic, more respected, which behaves better and which does more,” Champagne, the former deputy general secretary of FIFA told the Associated Press.

Current FIFA president Sepp Blatter has yet to publicly announce whether he will run for re-election but he’s hinted that he may be running for a fifth term. Former France legend and current UEFA president Michel Platini has also yet to confirm whether he’ll enter the presidential race.

Though he’s only just announced his intent to run, Champagne has already received the backing of Pele. The legendary soccer star wrote in a letter that he “supports Champagne and his vision.”

Here are some more stories to start your Monday:

TORRES INJURED IN CHELSEA VICTORY

Chelsea fans better get used to seeing Samuel Eto’o start, because they won’t be seeing much of Fernando Torres for the next “few weeks.”

Following Sunday’s 3-1 thrashing of Manchester United, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho confirmed that Torres has suffered knee ligament damage and is set for an extended spell on the sidelines.

“(Torres hurt the) lateral ligament in his knee, (he’ll be out for) weeks,” Mourinho told Chelsea’s website after the game. “It’s time for Demba (Ba), he has had a fantastic week and it was very difficult for me to leave him out because he’s worked very well.”

Torres has been in better form recently, working hard to set up teammates and scoring in each of his last two starts. Eto’o, who had a hat-trick against Man United, has scored eight goals this season in all competitions. Ba has struggled to earn a regular place in the team, making just three starts this year.

REPORTS CLAIM BRAZIL FEDERATION ASKED CLUB TO BE DEMOTED IN RETURN FOR CASH

Controversy is no stranger to Brazil with yet another scandal rocking the Brazilian front pages.

According to a report from ESPN, the Brazilian Football Federation (CBF) offered Portuguesa R$ 4 million (about $1.71 million USD) to accept the ruling from the sporting courts, which ruled that Portuguesa would be relegated to the Brazilian Serie B next season. The controversy stems from Portuguesa unknowingly using an ineligible player during the final round of play and being docked four points, which dropped them to the relegation zone.

The report adds that the cash payment would be a loan of sorts from the CBF and would be payed back in 2015 in ten installments.

The decision (for now) to relegate Portuguesa saves Fluminense, who had been in the drop zone despite winning the Brazilian first division in 2012. Portuguesa has refused to accept not only the reported cash payment from the CBF but they’ve also rejected the ruling by the sporting court.

QUICK KICKS

Everton are hoping to acquire 6’8” tall forward Lacina Traore on loan from AS Monaco. (REPORT)

Real Madrid centerback Raphael Varane has returned to full training after another knee issue kept him out since November. (REPORT)

Playing with a short-handed lineup, Bayern Munich were defeated in their last winter friendly match, 3-0, by Red Bull Salzburg. (REPORT)

Real Betis fired head coach Juan Carlos Garrido after just one and a half months, replacing him with Gabriel Calderon. (REPORT)

South Africa, who are hosting this winter’s African Nations Championships, have been called “useless” and “a bunch of losers” by the South African sports minister after Bafana Bafana were knocked out of the tournament in the first round. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? Do you see anyone challenging Blatter in 2015? Think that Chelsea can survive without Torres? Shocked at the scandal in Brazil?

Share your thoughts below.

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6 Responses to Monday Kickoff: Champagne enters FIFA race; Torres suffers knee injury; and more

  1. CJinOC says:

    Interesting. My initial thought is “Anyone but Seppy Blatts!” But then, I know nothing of this guy? anyone know anything about him?

  2. Gary Page says:

    Hah, when I saw the headline that Torres was injured, I thought they were talking about sometime US international Jose “Paco” Torres. Already knew about the Chelsea Torres.

  3. Ian says:

    6′ 8″ forward to Everton? African Peter Crouch. Awesome!

    • Better Than Peter Crouch says:

      1st. Check my name
      2nd. Check my game
      3rd. I’m gonna make noise in the World Cup and Peter will be riding the pine. After the cup people will be like wow he’s like the English Traore!

  4. MisterJC says:

    Useless and a bunch of losers, huh? It starts with the leadership at the top, as far as I’m concerned…

  5. MLS_Soccer_Talkerf says:

    Mr. Champagne aka Mr. Bean